Friday, December 30, 2011

Memory Quilt 2

The quilt is really done, and gone. See my previous post to see where the pattern came from, but here's a little more information on how I did the photos.

I stole them. Well, I stole some of them from facebook. Yes, again this year, I was a super-stalker and snagged photos from relatives fb photo albums to complete my Christmas project. (Warning, if you do this, the photos will not be high enough quality to enlarge them. Facebook compresses photos to save memory so enlarging the photos will make them grainy. If you plan to make them the same size or smaller, they are fine for most purposes.) I also scoured my photo albums to find photos.

[Want to save photos from someone else's facebook album? Right click on the photo, choose 'Save As', name the photo and save it to your computer (I usually make a folder on my desktop for easy access). The photo is now 'yours', but beware of really stealing an image to re-use, I'm sure someone could get sued for something like that in today's sue-happy society!]

After I found the photos I wanted to use, I spent a good amount of time on Picnik (which you should be using for easy free photo editing!) cropping photos, fixing colors and exposure, and softening the edges of all the photos. I wanted them to fit into the quilt window and not have a distinct edge for uniformity. Some photos were so old I couldn't fix all the yellowing without messing up the overall color, but that's part of the charm, I think. Like this gem from Gramdpa & Gramma's wedding 54 years ago, that's my mom in the middle:

Then I threw them in a Word document, four photos to a page, and printed them on our HP inkjet printer at home, in mirror image. This is the product I used:

I was really pleased with this product! Previously, I've had iron on sheets that immediately peal at the edges or don't seem to really bond well to the material. Not so with this, this was great! The transfer papers almost melted right into the material and the photos were very clear with no bleeding. I will use this product again for sure.

I was really excited to give this gift. (It really is better to give than to receive! What? Cheesy? True.)

I love how Grace was almost as excited as I was to see Grampa receive his gift. You can see her in a couple photos above, just unable to stay back. =0) There may have been a few tears and a nose blown.

 Everyone stopped to check out the quilt on the pool table, finding pictures of themselves and absent family members.


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Memory Quilt

Grampa is not online so I can post his Christmas gift and not have to worry that the surprise will be ruined.
I first saw this pattern at A Passionate Quilter and loved it, 1) because it's a great way to use up scraps, 2) it uses repurposed jeans, which I love extra much, and 3) because I thought I could make it into the memory quilt I've been thinking about making for a couple years now. My gram passed away a couple months ago and doing this family quilt for grampa with lots of pictures, including gram (she's in the red, second square from the bottom on the right), and finding a great pattern made this a good time to try. Check out A Passionate Quilter for her pattern, the only change I made was to make bigger circles. The biggest circle I could find that I didn't mind drawing with permanent marker all around the edge was a foil pie tin, 9.5" diameter. That required geometry to figure out that a 6 3/8 " square would be the correct size for the insert. 

Anyway... I'm struck by how often I hate a project by the time it's almost done, especially a big project. I think that just helps push you through the end of the project. I'm so done with this project. I'd change a few things about this quilt. I'd make it a square smaller on each side. I wanted it to be a lap quilt (and thanks to my poor geography skills) and this quilt is a little big for a lap quilt but not big enough for a twin bed. I love the denim, but I think next time I would use flannel. With all the quilting on this quilt, it actually made the quilt stiffer rather than more flexible and I wanted a cozy snuggle up quilt. And the denim was heavy to sew. The quilt was put together in four pieces so I only had to quilt the middle line right through the middle. Thank God I actually read the directions because it would have sucked to quilt the whole thing when it was together. SUCKED

I originally thought I would rag the edges like the pattern linked above, but saw this other quilt at Juicy Bits where she left the edges raw and I though that might be best to not distract from the photos. And who wants to do that much cutting? Then I added another line of quilting so it was probably just as much work either way. It looks like I gave a bit more allowance than she did and I hope the edges hold up OK. I know this won't be getting washed a ton so I hope it's good.

My son says that this is definitely the gift that will make grampa cry this year. Not my goal, but I do hope he likes it!
Here's one of the sections before I joined them. And here's what the back looks like.
I really do like how the quilting looks.

Monday, December 12, 2011


When I was little we had a pastor who had a daughter named Sunny. I don't' even know if that was her real name or if it was a nickname. But I loved it. I still kind of love it. And more and more, I want to be Sunny.

Not that exact person, just the personality that should go with that name, ifyaknowwhatImean.

Lately I'm not sunny. I'm busy. Tired. Old. Fat. Unmotivated. Uncaring. You get it, I'm just not sunny.

But I'm trying to figure out how to get there from here.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Birthday, Redesigned

I recently had a birthday.

I don't like birthdays. Not because I don't like getting older, though. OK, I don't like getting older, but that's not the reason. It just seems like a big deal over nothing. It's not like I did something to earn a day just for me. Woohoo, you were born, way to go, you outgrew the womb! We don't usually have celebrations over stuff like, "Congratulations, you managed to eat your way to a bigger size! Happy XXL, big guy!" Now I'm just being silly. Yes, birthdays are a great opportunity to tell people how special they are. And I appreciate being appreciated, I guess I just don't know how to graciously accept it. But that's not the post I'm writing right now.

I'm not really a big gift person, either. I like really practical gifts. I still miss the underwear my gram would buy for me, every year. If it's something I needed and didn't have to buy for myself, you've blessed me, indeed! I frequently ruminate on the fabulous giftedness of the foldable, electric griddle (great product!), at least every time we make french toast or crepes. That's the kind of gifts I like. (I feel like need to let you know that my husband gives me great gifts, too. He watches what I like and then he blesses me with something I'd never buy myself, and tells me to just let him do something nice for me, so I do.)

And then I saw a link on Pinterest linking to Robyn's 38th birthday post (@ Mix Mingle Glow) where she decided to do 38 Random Acts of Kindness (RAOKs) on her birthday. She planned ahead and made a plan, proactively thinking about others. And then she invited her family and friends to participate, and the response was huge! Check out that post and see if you aren't motivated, too.

My church has a motto, and it's my church because I believe it: Love God. Love People. Period. It sounds a lot like a RAOK to me! So that's what I want. I'm putting in my order for my 42nd birthday right now: in 345 days I am having a birthday filled with loving on other people, and I'll invite everyone (you, if you are reading this) to participate with me. I'm going to spend this year thinking about ways to bless people, and practicing them. Won't you please join me?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Prophetic Arts & Crafts

I saw these beauties pinned on a website I'm not going to keep harping about (See my last two posts!), and followed them to the original post. I love them. Again, something I don't need, but compelled to make one. So Grace and I each made one.
These were fun. We drew the pattern, Grace traced her own and cut the pieces out. She added wings to hers. They are supposed to be rustic so it didn't matter that the eyes weren't exactly even, or the wings weren't perfectly cut out - the best kind of project to do with kids! And it's good for Grace to loosen up and not have something she made be too perfect.
I did all the sewing, she did all the stuffing.
She's happy with the results. I had to get up at 2:30am to go get the owl she'd kicked out of bed!
And she had to take a picture with both animals we've made together now. Evidently, when you are a two dimensional, stuffed, handmade creature, you are automatically friends with any other two dimensional, stuffed, handmade creature you meet. Good to know.
Here's mine, I love this bright, cheery seersucker fabric. I made it with a friend in mind, she wouldn't get out of my head all week. I wish I had fuzzy material for the back, but I'm pretty into using what I have or repurposing other stuff, so this guy was backed with jeans.
And there was a little message free motion quilted onto the back:
Whoooooo is loved?
Annie is!

I felt corny with this (corny) pun, but again, couldn't get it out of my head so I went with it. And the recipient assured me that that is exactly what God has been speaking into her heart over the last few days. She also said that it's like "prophetic arts and crafts!" 

I loved that! I walked into church carrying this little stuffed guy, and felt kind of silly, but pretty sure I was supposed to bring it, and it seems like that was right on. Sweet! Maybe this is why I get hooked on making something. right. now. And love giving stuff away. Maybe it's prophetic arts and crafts? Maybe.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Poor, Muppety Llama

I saw this on Pinterest (again with the Pinterest!?!) and it made me laugh. Out loud. And I do not laugh out loud at just anything...

Happy Friday! I hope you have lots to laugh about this weekend, and someone to laugh with...

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Jump on the Bandwagon!

(Should it be Band Wagon or Bandwagon? IDK)

Did you read this post where I talked about TARN? Because now I am seeing it all over, and people are evidently paying a lot for it. Or 'they' want people to pay a lot for it. Whichever. Check these out:

This one was at Michael's craft store, 12 loops, 4 of each color, for $7!

And this one is at the store on the university where I work. These Boho Wraps can be used for "bracelets, headbands, necklaces, belts, or ponytale holders," per the packaging. $8! For a quarter of the material above.

So jump on the bandwagon, people! Grab some tshirts, make your own tarn, and save a few bucks! What can you make?

(See Wikipedia for Bandwagon origins here.)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Woodland Gnomes & Captive Thoughts

I've talked about Pinterest on this blog before. I love Pinterest, a little too much.

Some of the great things about Pinterest are how visual it is. You can scroll through pictures (what's it called when it's bigger than a thumbnail but not the whole window?) and only need to click something if you are interested, not open each link and hit 'back' because you didn't find what you wanted. Everything on it is something someone else has found 'pin worthy' so you have less junk to wade through to determine if you like something. It is like walking through a art fair with mostly things you can do yourself, but you don't have to secretly sneak a photo or mutter to a friend about how you can make that, too. (There are categories on Pinterest that do not fall into the categories I'm describing, like architecture & fashion, but I'm not so interested in those.)

I saw some cute woodland gnomes made from corks. I knew I had corks, and yarn, and suddenly had to make them. Waiting and crocheting during Grace's dance class I chatted with the other waiting mom's, and they asked what I was making. I showed them the gnomes on my iPhone, which led to a discussion about what I was making them for.

Wait, what do you mean, 'what am I making them for?!?' Obviously they are missing the obvious answer. They're cute, and I have corks and yarn.... And then I realized that I was making something for no reason, and that I can try to simply enjoy the idea that there are creative people out in the big world that can make cute, creative things, that I never have to try. Just because I can, doesn't mean I should. Duh!

So, I made some cute woodland gnomes, I don't know what I'm going to do with them, I don't think I need to make any more.

And again, I learned a few things (all this learning is hard!):
Again, because I can make something doesn't mean I should make it.
I don't always have to have a project, do I?
It's nice to make things for people (who wants some gnomes?), but not necessary.
I shouldn't start a new project when the hat I started this weekend is not done.
(Or the 17 other projects that are waiting for some attention)
It's OK to create margin, instead of stuff.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Stuff I learned

I went to a conference at our church this weekend, A Cause to Live for, a Cause to Die for. I've realized a few things, possibly not new to anyone but me. I'm writing them down anyway, so I can remember when I need them.

Miracles still happen.

We often don't recognize them.

We often don't ask for them.

We don't give credit to God when it does happen.

We are afraid that our prayers will actually be answered.

We're not always sure we want to be healed. Sometimes we are too happy to sit in our mess.

We're afraid the answered prayer will look like something other than our plan.

And then there's that book. THE Book. I've read it, at least a few times, and many books over and over, taking pride in the amount of writing and highlighting in the. And then I got busy and started using it for reference only. I'm ashamed to say how familiar I've gotten with the Book in a browser with a search window. I've even started reading books that are about things in the Book and glossing over the references. Or the facebook posts that are carefully chosen excepts of the Book. Phooey. I'm so done with that. I'd forgotten that the Book isn't just another Book, it's the Living, Breathing Instruction Manual for living. I'd forgotten that
it's medicine for my wounded being, 
and not just a reference guide to use when I need something wise to say. 

Good stuff to remember.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Some This & That

I love that our 16 year old can still be captivated by building creatures with twist-ties.
Such a strange dog.
Girl wanted a braid, NOT THIS KIND OF BRAID!#%@*!!,
so the braid came out.
I was sick Friday-now and started a baby rattle.
Not too bad for no pattern, even if the end is a little phallic.
Two more rings to go on it, the rings come off and the larger end rattles.

I think Micah would like it. 
Maybe I'd get fancier and use these cross stitch pieces for a pattern:

If I ever get ambitious. We'll see.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Chili Dump

Doesn't that title sound horrible? I think it does. But we did it with our small group, and it was GOOD.

My husband got this idea from a friend at work (which is funny because I also heard this idea from a completely different friend and I dismissed it because it didn't sound good at all!). A chili dump is when you have everyone make some chili, bring it all together, mix it up, and eat it! Even when the recipes are different, even when one has corn and one has bacon and one has butter beans (my favorite!). We had four varieties, and the one Micheal made had freshly smoked tomatoes & peppers, beef, Italian sausage, bacon, Bushes baked beans, and butter beans. Smoking the veggies was INGENIOUS and made the chili smell so good!

My husband also makes salsa with smoked veggies and it. is. GOOD. But back to the chili.

The chili was mixed in the big stock pot of a turkey fryer and kept hot with the gas burner. The group members also brought chili fixings like sour cream, cheese, cilantro, smoked hot peppers for heat lovers, Fritos, cornbread, and other stuff I'm probably missing... The chili was really excellent and everyone kept saying how good it was (I think we were all surprised.) We ate it outside around a bonfire and made S'mores for dessert.

If you need an idea to feed a group, you should try a Chili Dump, I think you'll like it!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Show & Tell

I spent the weekend at a cabin in the woods with a bunch of crafty ladies. There was scrapbooking, quilting, jewelry making, sewing, stamping, ancestor researching, crocheting... and eating. Three whole days and nights of doing whatever we wanted to do. I can't show you some things because they're gifts, but here's a few of the things I made that I can show you:

 I was going to make a bunch of different amigurami like these in 3s for juggling kits for Christmas for nieces & nephews, but I don't think so anymore. Anyone wanna buy a juggling book? I'll give you a great deal!

A repurposed pair of jeans into a bag for current yarn projects.
Can you see the vintage sheets I lined them with, above? I love that material!

And potholders I made from some scraps someone passed on to me.

Not colors I would normally pick, but they were already half sewn. I used thermal fleece inside and as thin as they are, they really do protect from heat. They sound a little crinkly.
I just left a raw edge that I pinked. I hope the edges hold up, or else I'll have to throw some binding on. After being married almost 20 years, all our potholders are about that old, and trashed, burned, or stained from the BBQ, I may have been the most excited about these!

And I made a little chapstick holder for Grace. It's chapped lips season and I hope this well help her always have chapstick with her!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Remember these?

I always wanted to wear these in Jr. High but my mom wouldn't allow me to have long enough hair to get the 'right' look. I was very sad. Sad enough that I remember it 30 years later, and with it the jealousy I felt for a certain classmate who had the long, blond, straight hair I always wanted, instead of my dishwater, curly, short mop...

(Pause for a moment at the poignancy of the memory...)

When I saw the lovely ribboned barrettes someone pinned on Pinterest, of course I immediately put this project on my list. Grace and I made them last night.

The trickiest part is starting them, so I did that, but then Grace could easily do the braiding while I held the barrette steady. You can see some imperfections, and we packed more braiding on them than necessary, but we both like the result!

Here's a tutorial, case you're interested. (Really, if this memory has stuck with me all these years, you don't want your daughter to live under a cloud like I have, do you???) The only difference we did, other than extra braiding, is we started on the other side of the barrette so the ribbons would end up hanging from what will be the bottom, it made more sense to me!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Tip for living well

At a work meeting, after a co-worker described the redundancy purposely built into the university's network system, he was asked some questions about the design. He said that this allows for a "more graceful fault tolerance" when a network switch goes down. As we are talking about the network on a busy university, this is understandably important. There are classes that can't even be taught without internet access. So our IT staff is constantly, proactively working on ways to minimize failure.

The phrase he used stuck with me. 

A more graceful fault tolerance.

I want a more graceful fault tolerance. 

I want more (additional)

graceful (characterized by beauty of movement, style, form, etc.)

fault (a defect or imperfection, an error or mistake, a misdeed or transgression)

tolerance (patience, sufferance, forbearance; liberality, impartiality, open-mindedness)


And I hope you can have one for me, too. Mm'k? Thanks!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


 Are you making gifts for Christmas this year?

It's only 67 days away.

In 8 days I'm going on a crafting weekend with a bunch of women. I think most of them will be scrapbooking. But not me, I sold all my stuff in favor of digital scrapping. But I do have a bunch of stuff I'd like to make...

But how do YOU narrow it down? Do you make a bunch of the same thing for everyone? Do you make unique things for each person? Do you eschew all things home-made and  buy gifts, or gift cards?

I'm starting to get a little stressed out about it!!! 67 days, people!

My husband wants one of these iPhone thermometer thingies for Christmas. They actually look pretty sweet. But I bet I can't make one of those.

67 days, people!

What are your Christmas projects? (And tell me you are even less prepared than I am. Please?)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


We stood outside watching our kids jump on the trampoline. One of the parents shared his trampoline memories with us. (Unfortunately,) I can't get it out of my mind.

He and his siblings would strip down to their underwear, squirt Dawn dish soap all over the trampoline, put a sprinkler underneath so it would spray through the mesh, and jump around on it in big garbage bags. He called it, "Who will die first?"

Crazy picture, huh? If it weren't October in Minnesota, I might try something similar... And I would NOT tell our insurance agent!

I do love when kids make their own fun, though! Here's to imagination!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Flashback Friday

It's windy, rainy off and on, and the Friday of a busy week where we've all been fighting fall colds and other crud. I just want to snuggle up with my family, watch movies, nap...

Last weekend, Micheal, Micah, and I watched the movie Thor together and for a couple minutes Micah and I were on the same bed under different blankets. I jokingly snuggled up by him and he was so, SO uncomfortable. And I was so sad.

And Grace will snuggle with me for about 4.87 seconds before she's on to the next thing. Unless it's in the middle of the night or early morning hours, then she's like a giant (baby) squid who is suctioned right to my side. And who can enjoy it then?

I remember when everyone was younger and liked each other. Like this:

(7 years ago)
Or this sick day:

I hope you have a great weekend! I'll be taking our princess to Boo at the Zoo tomorrow, which means I'll be  hemming a ballgown tonight!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Hotpads & Pictures

I made a fabric basket for a friend, and every time I looked at the scraps I thought about what I should use them for. They weren't big scraps, so they turned into this:

It was surprisingly challenging to make these random. I'd like to think that my difficulty means that I am a meticulous crafter, but it probably just means that I am a control freak. ;o)

These are backed with repurposed denim with another layer of (way more worn) denim and scrap of batting inside. And the quilted top is sewn to a scrap layer of fleece, so 4+ layers. And then I dropped them off for my friend because, made out of 'her' material, they felt like they were hers.

We had Grace's kid birthday party at the roller rink last Saturday. Only half the kids could skate, but they were troopers and kept getting up and trying when I would have quit. In their goody-bags we put some glowing bracelets, a sticky hand thing, candy, and a container of goo. Grace and I made the goo ourselves (find a basic recipe here), colored it blue and purple, added extra fine glitter and put it in dollar store containers. The goo was a hit! (And if I had planned ahead, it would have been even cheaper to pick up the glue during back to school sales!) And Grace got to pick a pair of gloves to go with her 'I had a skate party tshirt.' She had to wear then to school on Monday. (And insists they are warm and that she could wear them all winter! Ummm, no.)

Flashback to the 80s!

Micah's been sick, wearing lots of sweats, and doing lots of this.

Everywhere we go, Grace wants to pose with something.

And then she likes to flip through them so she can make decide if they are 
facebook-worthy or not.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

My heart is full

Today (now yesterday) is National Coming Out Day and for the third year in a row I spent my lunch at the annual NCOD luncheon at UMD. There always two speakers: one college student who is usually a member of the UMD GLBTQ community, and a staff/faculty/community member with some affiliation with said community. I love their stories. Often heart-breaking, these stories are frequently interspersed with tales of bullying and being ostracized from family and peers. These stories also include moments of triumph and chance meetings of encountered compassion. (Because who wants to listen to a story where nothing ever resolves, where everything stinks and even the tiny seeds of hope sewn in our souls when we were younger are smothered?) So these stories give hope. (And often a politically rallying refrain for a the current issues. NOT the point of this post, so please, let's not go there.) And these stories give us an opportunity to extend compassion. We are invited into their story.

One of my favorite moments in one speaker's story: He had 'been out' for a while but hadn't told his Grandma yet. And he wanted to, and it was hard, but he finally mustered up the courage to say, "Grandma, you know I'm gay, right?" and she looked at him and said, "Everyone needs someone to cook supper for," and they never spoke about it again. I love that!!! No condemning, no picking at the details of right or wrong, no disowning, just love and the understanding that relationship is important.

We have a newer person in our church and small group. She's single, black, and a mom of 5 who has a whole story behind why she's in our community, moving here with 'the clothes on their backs' and not much else. They recently rented an apartment that actually fits their family and it made their meager possessions even more obvious as they had been doubling up on beds and eating picnic style in an empty dining room. From the outside, this family might appear like a few demographics people like to rip on... (AGAIN, not the point of this post...) but when you get to know them, they are just another family in need, or just like you and just like me.

Unfortunately, we aren't in any position to financially help, but I could put a word out. And did - social networking to the rescue! And people heard and helped! In a big way. From church friends, work friends, and even friends from high school gave: a double bed with new mattresses, a twin captains bed, 4 dressers, a standing cabinet, a love seat, a curio cabinet, 3 lamps and a picture, a large dining room table, a kitchen table & 4 chairs, 4 other kitchen chairs, a bookcase, 3 night stands, an end table, a bunch of curtains/drapes, and I'm sure I've forgotten something! And then, one of our men's groups from church moved all this furniture into her 2nd and 3rd floor apartment, installing curtain rods and reassembling furniture! And it all happened because someone (not me!) took the time to notice someone in need and invite them in! Someone chose to become part of their story. The tears in the eyes of the teenager who finally had a place to put her clothes and the wide-eyed amazement on the face of this mom who hasn't had a bed to herself in years told me that the story of their life had changed.

Somehow, we need to start seeing people. We need to see the people around us who are in need - any kind of need. We all have the opportunity to speak into someone's story. At the close of the NCOD luncheon yesterday, someone said, "I don't have to add anything, please pay attention (to what's going on). And if you are paying attention, you should be outraged." I agree. And I would add '... and you will see opportunities to extend compassion, and change a story, change a life."

Monday, October 10, 2011

Stinkin' Thinkin'

(* this post has been in-progress since 9/27! I've been processing, and needed the space to let it breath and not rip on my family, who did nothing wrong...)

I was dry. Not sure how else to describe it. Something was wrong and I couldn't quite put my finger on it. Micheal noticed it, too, but since I couldn't really see it, I could tell him what was wrong.

I finally had an epiphany; I was walkin' in that stinkin' thinkin' and didn't even realize it.

Here's how it went:

My gram had a scheduled surgery and was unable to recover. She died. And we did all the family things, and it actually went as well as these things can go. And in this whole process, I went to a place I rarely go and saw people I rarely see, but who knew me as a child and knew my mom when she was alive so there were many, "You look like her," "I still miss her," and other visual memories. And of course the whole thing was hard and emotional.

And then we all went home, our house guest left and life returned to normal. Except it wasn't. Having lost both parents now, I'm familiar with grieving.  And this was different. Obviously, grief was involved, but this was something wrong - everything was wrong.

And then someone prayed for me, and I could suddenly see it: like a silly band that snaps back to it's original shape when you release it, I was suddenly living as a person who hadn't received my identity from Jesus. I know better than that. But I did it anyway. Just being in the place where my old feelings and habits were formed was enough to send me back. And I couldn't even recognize it. I was stinkin' thinkin', and it felt almost normal.

In his book, 12 Steps with Jesus, Don Williams likens this to there being well-worn paths in everyones brain (my paraphrase). Some people follow a well-worn path and drink too much alcohol when they are reacting to life, or eat too much, or don't eat anything at all, or sleep too much, or whatever their chosen 'medication' is, and if we want freedom from these things, we need to forge new paths to healthier things - ultimately Jesus. I had habitually taken the well-worn path that I grew up cultivating, and it was so familiar that I couldn't even see that I had taken a wrong turn.

Last week I heard a dear friend counseling her daughter on how we all have some 'hookedness,'
 that we are all 'hookable' and one of our primary tasks is to recognize when we are hooked, and respond appropriately. Sometimes it's by avoiding situations that you know will hook you. Sometimes you can't do that and you need to go into them, armed with the knowledge that you have a choice in your response, and knowing ahead of time what you will do is helpful! I had been hooked.

The idea of getting hooked on things makes me think of me, and you, wearing the finest cashmere, carefully dyed and knit into a masterpiece - the perfect sweater in color, style, gauge and size. And then we walk around everyday, dodging obstacles made out of Velcro, just getting hooked left and right.

Combining analogies never works well, but let me give this a try:
What if I let God say which path to take, let Him guide me through and around these Velcro obstacles? What if, instead of my old, unhealthy habits and self-protecting reflexes, I trusted Him to lead me? What would that look like?
We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
~ 2 Corinthians 10:5
 What are your well-worn paths? What hooks you? 

Monday, September 26, 2011

New Quilt

Pinterest is addicting. I am going on a craft weekend at the end of October and I need to figure out what I'm doing for Christmas gifts, so I've spent far too much time on Pinterest lately. I came across this A.MA.ZING chenille quilt and had to make one. Right away. Seriously, it's like this quilt is made with crack and somehow it came out of my computer monitor and sucked me right in. The day I saw it I went to the store & bought fabric, layered it & squared it up. 10 rows were sewn that day.

When my son came home from work that night, we had this conversation:
Micah: What are you making now mom?
Me: I saw the COOLEST quilt EVER on a blog today and I have to make one right now!
Micah: Really? The coolest one EVER?
Me: Yes! Wait til you see it! It's chenille you make by layering flannel... (I went on and Micah's eyes kind of glazed over. Read the blog post at Aesthetic Nest - all credit to her!
Micah: Great mom. Don't stay up too late. (They know me so well!)

That was Thursday. Friday night I finished the quilting on over half the quilt, Saturday night I finished the quilting, cut the chenille strips, rounded the corners (my first rounded corners ever!) and bound it. I also added a funky little zip-zag on the binding. Thursday night - Saturday night: Quilt - done! Here's my photo log, not a tutorial, but includes any hints or ways I did it that may (or may not) vary from the inspiring blog post.

Background fabric. It's a really fine textured corduroy that I thought could possibly be girl or boy material. (I know it's flowers, but the blue and red are really prominent and until you get close you don't really see that they are flowers.)
Had to roll and fold the material to get it through the machine.
168 lines of quilting. I counted.
The inspiring blog post says it takes a long time and I thought, "It can't take that long, it's only about 45" square." Well, it does take that long. I probably spent 3-4 hours quilting this sucker. Of course a bunch of that time is refolding the material. Oh! And redoing a line when your bobbin thread runs out. (Don't you hate that!?!) Keep your eye on your bobbin! I always forget to look, or think I can do just one more line - and then forget to change it! I used a spool and a half of thread, part of that being 5 full bobbins.

Cutting through 3 layers only, leaving the back layer whole. I don't know how people do it without the Olfa Chenille Cutter! That's a lot of cutting!
My hint for this tool is to actually follow the size gauge. (I know - why wouldn't you do that in the first place?) The guides on each of the 4 sizes looked a little too big for the 1/2 inch rows I was doing, but it's SUPPOSED to be a little bit big so it spits the row. So trust the sizing guide. Also, make your cuts while the quilt is laying on a flat surface to keep the line uniform. I have a couple rows that I am unhappy with the way they were cut, but it's totally user error, and I'm considering ripping out those rows and fixing them. (Would anyone but me notice them? And can I get over it? I'll probably re-do them!)
Rounding corners.
Binding, pre-wash.
Rounded corner binding, post-wash.
My chenille layers were a white backed red on the bottom, followed by a teal that matched the back, and then the cornflower blue.
Don't you love how it gets all wavy and soft looking when it's been washed?
It looks so interesting you just have to touch it.
I love how soft and pliable this quilt is! I'll definitely make more. 

I don't even know who's getting this quilt!

I think it costs a little more than a 'regular' baby quilt, you need 4+ pieces of material instead of 2 or 2 1/2 -ish needed for a quilt, but no batting, no piecing... I'm going to try to pick up neutral colored flannel sheets from yard sales to supplement new material costs.